PubMed 19225109

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Cav1.1

Title: K+-dependent paradoxical membrane depolarization and Na+ overload, major and reversible contributors to weakness by ion channel leaks.

Authors: Karin Jurkat-Rott, Marc-André Weber, Michael Fauler, Xiu-Hai Guo, Boris D Holzherr, Agathe Paczulla, Nikolai Nordsborg, Wolfgang Joechle, Frank Lehmann-Horn

Journal, date & volume: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 2009 Mar 10 , 106, 4036-41

PubMed link:

Normal resting potential (P1) of myofibers follows the Nernst equation, exhibiting about -85 mV at a normal extracellular K(+) concentration ([K(+)](o)) of 4 mM. Hyperpolarization occurs with decreased [K(+)](o), although at [K(+)](o) < 1.0 mM, myofibers paradoxically depolarize to a second stable potential of -60 mV (P2). In rat myofiber bundles, P2 also was found at more physiological [K(+)](o) and was associated with inexcitability. To increase the relative frequency of P2 to 50%, [K(+)](o) needed to be lowered to 1.5 mM. In the presence of the ionophore gramicidin, [K(+)](o) reduction to only 2.5 mM yielded the same effect. Acetazolamide normalized this increased frequency of P2 fibers. The findings mimic hypokalemic periodic paralysis (HypoPP), a channelopathy characterized by hypokalemia-induced weakness. Of myofibers from 7 HypoPP patients, up to 25% were in P2 at a [K(+)](o) of 4 mM, in accordance with their permanent weakness, and up to 99% were in P2 at a [K(+)](o) of 1.5 mM, in accordance with their paralytic attacks. Of 36 HypoPP patients, 25 had permanent weakness and myoplasmic intracellular Na(+) ([Na(+)](i)) overload (up to 24 mM) as shown by in vivo (23)Na-MRI. Acetazolamide normalized [Na(+)](i) and increased muscle strength. HypoPP myofibers showed a nonselective cation leak of 12-19.5 microS/cm(2), which may explain the Na(+) overload. The leak sensitizes myofibers to reduced serum K(+), and the resulting membrane depolarization causes the weakness. We postulate that the principle of paradoxical depolarization and loss of function upon [K(+)](o) reduction may apply to other tissues, such as heart or brain, when they become leaky (e.g., because of ischemia).